I’m compiling a list of the biggest mistakes marketing professionals make when planning, writing and commissioning social media content. The results will be announced at next week’s Online Marketing Show. If you have a strong opinion to share on copywriting 2.0, then this is for you…

You are cordially invited to enter a social media experiment with me.

I’m speaking at the Online Marketing Show 2007 next week on the subject of the seven deadly sins of writing for social media.

From the last twelve years at Sticky Content spent writing and editing web copy for companies and organisations of all kinds, I know what I think the seven deadly sins are.

I’d list them, in no particular order, as:

1. Not setting a strategy before you start. “We should have a blog” says the CEO. And so it begins…

2. Going for volume. (ie Myspace) over a targeted, specialist community (ie brickshelf.com for LEGO enthusiasts).

3. Ignoring the rules of engagement. Posting corporate salespeak on messageboards, for example, or ‘digging’ your own stuff. Wasting people’s time with irrelevant blog entries about your new pet…

4. Not having the resource, the skills – or possibly the staying power – to maintain your content; to respond quickly and appropriately to negative comments/questions/reviews, or to participate in debates about your products or services.

5. Failing to be transparent and to fully disclose your connection to a product/company.

6. Expecting it to be easy. Building trust online takes time and requires brands to be both open and generous – to freely share their expertise and to work hard to create genuinely interesting and useful content. 

7.  Ignoring best practice in web writing. Providing good quality content in web-friendly formats which is usable, easy to find through search engines and written to brand guidelines which encompass social media.

What I want to know is: do you agree with my list?

Is there anything you’d add? Or remove? Because the main thing I love about social media is that it is the chance to combine your own opinion and expertise with that of your peers, learn something new and engage in a bit of a skirmish…

So if you feel strongly about the writing you see on blogs, wikis, bookmarking and community sites etc, or if you just want to take issue with my list, then please post a comment.

And if you’d like to see the result of our combined efforts, the presentation is at the Online Marketing Show at 3pm on Wednesday 27th June at the Business Design Centre, Islington.